The 23-year-old Oloitiptip, not among the pre-race favourites, but with a personal best of 27 minutes, 52 seconds, took lead early in the race and held off challenges from fellow-Kenyan Nicholas Kipkemboi and Ethiopian youngster Brihanu Legese to win in 28:07, ahead of Kipkemboi in 28:12 and Legese in 28:16.
Current World Cross-Country champion Japhet Korir could not live up to pre-race expectations, finishing a disappointing 17th in 29:59 while another fancied Kenyan Moses Masai finished 10th in 29:05.
The women's race, run in relatively hotter conditions, saw Cherono winning in 32:03, five seconds outside the course record of 31:58, set by Yimer Wude in 2010.
Gladys was followed home by Ethiopian Guteni Shone in 32:10 and Kenyan Esther Chemtai in 32:14. Kenyan Helah Kiprop failed to defend her title, finishing seventh in 32:26, while course record holder Wude was ninth in 32:54.
The overall male and female winners took home USD 21,000 each, with the second and third-placed runners winning USD 15,000 and USD 9,000 each respectively.
Suresh K. Patel and Sudha Singh emerged winners among the men and women in the Indian category, finishing overall 20th and 14th respectively.
Patel, employed with ONGC and based in Dehradun, clocked 30:34, way outside the Indian men's course record of 29:59 and was followed home by V.L. Dangi in 30:53 and Mohd. Yunus in 30:58.
The women's race was won by the Railways athlete Sudha Singh in a start to finish effort in 35:25 while Preeja Sreedharan, making a comeback after a layoff, was second in 36:01, followed by O.P. Jaisha in 36:31 while defending champion Monika Athare was fourth.
The Nation's Challenge saw Uttar Pradesh, represented by Sudha Singh, Suresh Patel and Mohd Yunus emerge winners and take home a purse of Rs.4.5 lakh followed by Maharashtra and Kerala.
Though the late night showers Saturday had cooled temperatures a bit, humidity was high and with the male athletes not willing to force the pace, the course record slipped out of reckoning after the 5 km mark.
It was a tight bunch that went through the 5 km mark with Oloitiptip, Kipkemboi and Legese in the lead group followed closely by Mike Kigen, Philemon Rono and Tanzanian Dickson Marwa. The three leaders then broke free at around 8 km and entered the stadium with just a few strides separating them. Oloitiptip accelerated in the final 350 metres for a well deserved win.
Oloitiptip said: "It was fantastic win for me. I had faith in my ability and believed that I could win the run. The first five kilometres were difficult and the conditions were humid but the fact that I was strong and well prepared in mind and body helped me do well."
The women's race too was closely contested with Lucy Kabuu setting the early pace and leading the bunch comprising Gladys Cherono, Guteni Shone and Esther Chamtai.
It was after around 9 km that Kabuu's pace flagged, allowing Cherono to move ahead and lead Guteni and Esther into the stadium. Gladys had the stronger finish and warded off the other two to win comfortably.
"The run was my first in India. The weather was humid, which made running a little challenging personally. The run was slow initially but became a lot faster later. I am glad that I overcame the odds and came out victorious," said Gladys.
Overall Elite Men: 1. Alex Oloitiptip (KEN) 00:28:07; 2. Nicholas Kipkemboi (KEN) 00:28:12; 3. Birhanu Legese (ETH) 00:28:16.
Overall Elite women: 1. Gladys Cherono (KEN) 00:32:03; 2. Guteni Shone (ETH) 00:32:10; 3. Esther Chemtai (KEN) 00.32.14.
Indian Men: 1. Suresh K.R. Patel 00:30:34L 2. V.L. Dangi 00:30:53; 2. Mohd. Yunus 00:30:58; 3. Indrajeet Patel 00:31:20.
Indian Women: 1. Sudha Singh 00:35:25; 2. Preeja Sreedharan 00:36:01; 3. O.P. Jaisha 00:36:31.
Nations Challenge: 1. Uttar Pradesh (Sudha Singh, Mohammed Yunus, Suresh K.R. Patel) 01:36:56; 2. Maharashtra (V.L. Dangi, Man Singh, Lalita Babbar) 01:39:18; 3. Kerala (Arjun Pradhan, O. Sonaton Singh, Preeja Sreedharan) 01:39:58.
--IANS (Posted on 19-05-2013)